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Friday, April 29, 2011

The sky of the sky of a tree called life

I awoke this morning at 5:45, as giddy as a Princess Bride myself.

Excited, I was, and inexplicably so, for Catherine Elizabeth Middleton to wed William Arthur Phillip Louis Mountbatten-Windsor at Westminster Abby.

I couldn't wait for the ceremony to begin.

When it was over, I was not disappointed.

It was a day of romance. And, oh, and I do loves me some old fashioned romance.

Catherine's gown was lovely. Elegant. Graceful. Its modern lines were offset by the almost midieval veil and halo tiara, creating just the right balance of mystery and majesty. It was a clear statement about who she understands herself to be and the task she understands is hers as the future Queen.

William was dashingly handsome in his red uniform and blue sash, whispering to his bride when she stood by his side at the altar, "You look beautiful." I love the way he hovers around Catherine - protective, attentive, loving. Clearly, this man is not his father's son, nor does he have the relationship with Catherine that his father had with his mother.

Thanks be to God.

I loved the liturgy, from the more modernized version of the 1662 Prayer book (no 'plighting' but 'giving' of 'troth'), to the singing of Diana's favorite hymn (Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer) and the stunning, specially commissioned Rutter's piece ("This is the day which the Lord hath made").

I loved all the pageantry, from the horse-drawn carriages and the flower girls and little boys in their knickered-uniforms, to the living plants and flowers all over the place, to Westminster Abby itself, and yes, even the fact that the Archbishop of Canterbury presided at the traditional wedding vows.

It was just enough pomp for the circumstance without being stuffy and off-putting.

There was, actually, a warmth and an intimacy about the whole service that was . . . well . . . romantic. Royally so, without the necessity of royalty. It was something that transcended the monarchy.

My gracious, even the 85 year old Queen couldn't seem to stop smiling.

These are two people who obviously love each other. That simple truth was as refreshing as it was breathtaking. No arranged marriage here, except by the couple themselves who have known each other for more than eight years.

Yes, yes, yes, it was a multimillion dollar affair, coming at a time of global economic insecurity, instability in the Middle East and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Arguments can and perhaps should be made for austerity. Love, however, is prodigal. It is, in and of itself, a luxury made even more luxurious in times of austerity and trouble and strife.

Its worth can not be measured in monetary terms. It has no bottom line, knowing only itself as the ultimate gift.

It is carried in the heart and in the soul of one person for another. It is timeless and ageless. It is, as poet e.e. cummings wrote, "the secret nobody knows"
"(. . . the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart."
Today, we caught a glimpse of that wonderful secret, carried in the hearts of two people in love.

The world needs more of this love. Indeed, we are in desperate need of a bit more romance. It sounds simplistic and sophomoric - and yes, perhaps wildly romantic in a '60s sort of way - to say that if the world had more love and romance, we might not be in the trouble we're in right now.

Today, for a few brief moments, we caught sight of what is good in the world, what is right and noble about relationships, what is elegant and regal about love.

There is something about romance that illuminates and magnifies and reveals something about love that we wouldn't otherwise see.

Love is a luxury which the world can not afford to do without - no matter the two people involved: royal or commoner, black or white, old or young, male or female, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer or straight.

So here's to Mr. and Mrs. William Mountbatten-Windsor, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. May their love grow higher than the soul can hope or the mind can hide.

Long live romance!

Long live love!

May we carry it with us in our hearts and make its secret more widely known.

BTW, if you missed the ceremony, you can catch the whole thing here.


themethatisme said...

Thank you for the humbling post Elizabeth. Can I take it you were referring to the Queen (85) being all smiley and not The Queen Mother who departed this life 9 years ago?

Muthah+ said...

Oh, yes. All my Anglican genes are alive and well! The Brits do this so well. And even though it was grand and expensive, just think of what a boost to the couture and milliners economy. Trickle down, doncha know.

I loved "Jerusalem" sung after the vows.

All of us Episcopalians now know what all our services are supposed to look like. But, m'dear, please note that there was not a smelly pot to be seen!

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

You know, I didn't even notice that there was no incense. Huh. Come to think of it, there was none for Diana and Charles, was there?

Well, they didn't need it. There were more living flowers, plants and trees that I'm sure the place smelled lovely.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thanks for that, ME. I just changed it. Although, I'm sure the Queen Mum was smiling down from heaven.

themethatisme said...

I'm sure she would be smiling, she always was otherwise. It's the Gin you know.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Boodles, no doubt. Giggle.

Mary-Cauliflower said...

I loved those maples in the Abbey, the soaring voices of the choir singing the Rutter anthem, and hearing that Ubi Caritas was a favorite. Also, how can I not love the fact that the new couple are (among other things) Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. I wonder when Click and Clack will get an audience.

But seriously, those maples. The soul soars.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Maples and acorns. Just love it